What's new at Czech castles and chateaus in 2023
Czech castles and chateaus have lots of new attractions for this year’s tourist season! Chateau Lány – the Czech presidential summer residence - is opening up to the public for the first time in its history. You can also enjoy a brand new tour route at Prague Castle, with its exhibition of furniture from the study of the first Czech president, Václav Havel, as well as at the chateau in the little town of Telč, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and at the most famous Czech castle, Karlštejn. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this time Kroměříž Chateau, also has a new look, including its picture gallery featuring a work by Titian. And that’s not everything, by far!

To Prague Castle to see the throne and the study of the first Czech president, Václav Havel

This year, Prague Castle has prepared seven tour circuits! You now have the chance to visit various fascinating places around the Castle that have never been open to the public before. Take a look at the interiors where Czech history has been written, into Cathedral of Sts. Vitus, and now into the prestigious premises housing the Museum of the Order of The White Lion. This museum has furniture on show from the castle study of the first Czech president, Václav Havel.

The new tours also take you to the Romanesque and Gothic floors of the Old Royal Palace, the Small Audience Hall of King Vladislaus II of Hungary, the Old Chamber with copies of the Bohemian Crown Jewels, and you’ll also be able to stand in front of the mediaeval royal throne. And what's more, with a guide you can take a stroll around the Royal Garden, into the Orangery, and visit the Falconer's House. Or, take a guided walk through the South Gardens of Prague Castle, where you’ll also visit a small vineyard. The Deer Moat - an oasis of green below the Castle - is also opening up again after many years.

The Castle and Cathedral of Sts. Vitus all to yourself? No problem!

And what about taking a look around Prague Castle without the crowds and the queues? Just arrange a visit at a special time in advance, and you’ll have the Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace and the picturesque Golden Lane, including an hour’s guided tour, all to yourself!

To Lány to visit the Czech president

From this year, for the very first time ever, as part of the site’s regular guided tours you’ll be able to take a look at Chateau Lány near Prague - the summer country residence of the Czech presidents! So, check out the Prague Castle website and book yourself a place – otherwise you won’t get to see the study of the first Czechoslovak president, the audience hall, the presidential lounge, and other parts of the chateau.

Telč is opening up: Discover UNESCO sites that almost no one has ever seen before

After many years, visitors will find the gates opening up at the Renaissance chateau in Telč in Vysočina, which, together with the historical heart of this little town, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the end of April you’ll be able to walk around the residential quarters of the palace’s last owners, and then, from mid-July, visit the magnificent original intact Renaissance halls, the chateau’s mysterious underground, the garden and the courtyard. You’ll get to see some places that have never been open to visitors before, such as the former chateau kitchen and brewery.

On the wine trail to Karlštejn, the most famous Czech castle

One major event this year is the completion of the extensive refurbishment of the Czech Republic’s most famous castle, Karlštejn, just a short way outside Prague. A permanent exhibition will be added in the cellar of the Burgrave House, presenting the construction development of the castle over the years, as well as an exhibition dedicated to the local wine industry; you’ll also have the chance to take a look into the Gothic cellar. Karlštejn Castle will also have a visitor centre, a hall to host cultural events, new refreshment shop and seating, while the kitchen garden in the southern park is to be renovated this year, too.

To Kunětice Mountain on the trail of Napoleon Bonaparte’s companion

The northern wing of the mediaeval castle palace on Kunětice Mountain near Pardubice in East Bohemia will be opened up to the public for the first time in its modern-day history! In May, on a tour of the Castle Palace and Tower you’ll be able to take a look at the castle interior and get a glimpse of the life of the nobles who lived there at the time. The tour will include the cellars with their archaeological finds, the Knights’ Hall, the armoury, an exhibition on par force hunting, and the chance to ascend the tower.

Besides this, May will see the opening of the castle Chapel of St. Catherine of Alexandria on Kunětice Mountain, where you can also see a plaque commemorating the visit by Emperor Francis I – the companion of Napoleon Bonaparte. From the terrace by the chapel you can then enjoy a wonderful view of the countryside along the Elbe River and of the town of Pardubice, home to the oldest and most challenging annual steeplechase horse race on the continent, the Velká pardubická.

To the chateau in Kroměříž to see a masterpiece by Titian

The Moravian Kroměříž Chateau, whose gardens are a UNESCO heritage site, will also be opening its doors to visitors again this year. You’ll have the chance to tour not only the renovated Assembly Hall, but also the chateau Picture Gallery with Titian’s famous work, The Flaying of Marsyas. The Mill Gate, connecting the summer residence of the Archbishop's Chateau in Kroměříž with the presbytery of the Church of St. Moritz, will be opened up to the public for the first time ever. It is to be used again after three hundred years – it now houses the new Museum of the Archbishop's Guard.

The pioneers of hiking and skiing. One of Bohemia’s most famous aristocratic houses in the spotlight

Meet the House of Harrach. The most famous story probably to be associated with this noble family is that they brought the very first skis into the Bohemian lands - in 1892 it was a novelty at the World Exhibition in Oslo. Yet if this were the only fact we are to remember, we would be doing the Harrachs a disservice. After all, for centuries they were one of the most prominent aristocratic houses in Bohemia. They were involved in the establishment of the National Theatre and the National Museum in Prague and they were popular figures at the imperial court, and important representatives of the Church. They were behind the development of the textile, glass and iron industry, and were pioneers of hiking.

And as this year brings several anniversaries associated with this family, there will be some interesting exhibitions and themed tours held in many places with links to the House of Harrach. Renovation work has been carried out, for instance, on some of the guest house rooms at Hrádek u Nechanic, a chateau that belonged to the Harrachs. A wide variety of events and exhibitions are also being prepared at Duchcov chateau, Frýdlant castle and chateau, Hradec nad Moravicí, Konopiště, Mnichovo Hradiště, Opočno, Sychrov, and also at the castle of Šternberk. After all, the Harrach trail leads to these places, too.

And one tip to finish with, not about chateaus this time: Glass treasure hidden from the Nazis

As the name of this town in North Bohemia implies, it will come as no surprise that the Harrach trail also leads to Harrachov in the Krkonoše National Park. This is where you’ll find the world’s oldest glassworks in continuous operation, Novosad & Son, established in 1712 by, you guessed it, the House of Harrach. This ancient family held the glassworks for centuries, until they were forced to sell it by the Nazis. And to make sure the Nazis didn’t get their hands on everything, the Harrachs bricked up their huge collection of glass behind the grinding mill. The glass treasure was not discovered until during the communist era, and you can see part of it in the glassworks to this day.